Mineke Schipper

Mineke Schipper studied French and Philosophy at Amsterdam Free University, and Literary Theory and Comparative Literature at the University of Utrecht. She started her career teaching French and African Literature at the Université Libre du Congo (1964-1968 and 1970-1972). She defended her PhD thesis (Le Blanc et l’Occident au miroir du roman africain de langue française) in Amsterdam in 1973 (the first in the Netherlands to be written on African literatures). That same year her thesis was published in Yaoundé under the title of Le Blanc vu d’Afrique. She became more and more interested in comparing literatures originating from different cultures. In 1988 she became the first Professor of Intercultural Literary Studies in the Netherlands, first at the Free University of Amsterdam and since 1993 at Leiden University.
As the International Secretary of the Netherlands PEN Centre, and later as a member of the PEN Emergency Fund and President of Index on Censorship Nederland she co-operated with the Writers-in-Prison Committee van International PEN and with writers in different parts of the world to promote the freedom of the writer.
She has been a visiting professor in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso, and now works with colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). In 1999 she received an honorary professorship at the Chinese Sichuan University in Chengdu. In December 2008 she gave her farewell address at the Faculty of Arts at Leiden University and received a Royal Order of Knighthood (“Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau”) for “building intercultural bridges nationally and internationally, inside and outside the academy.” She continues her scholarly work at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) and the co-operation with colleagues in Africa, the Arab world and China.

Mineke Schipper’s work addresses both academic and non-academic audiences. She has lectured not only at universities and scientific institutes (from Berkeley to Beijing; from Pretoria to Stockholm), but also to audiences outside the academy, such as policy makers in The Hague or Brussels; a thousand rural women in the Amsterdam RAI; Jewish women in a synagogue in Leiden; a Muslim audience in a mosque in Nairobi; a Women and Memory Forum in Egypt, a teahouse in Beijing and a book fair in Istanbul; and she was the guest of cultural institutes from Curaçao to Cairo and Phnom Penh, and so forth. Besides fiction and non-fiction books, she has also written for newspapers and magazines such as NRC-Handelsblad, Trouw, The London Times, El Mundo, Los Angeles Times, Exchange (Hongkong), Birgün (Istanbul).

List of publications.